Harvard Files Additional Amicus Brief Opposing Immigration Order

Immigration protest
Harvard affiliates protested President Donald Trump's immigration executive order last month.
UPDATED: February 14, 2017 at 4:08 p.m.

Harvard signed an additional amicus brief challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration order Monday, joining 16 other universities to argue that the order has damaged their institutions.

The brief, filed in a Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court, is the second amicus brief the University has filed opposing the order, which aims to bar immigrants from seven countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—for 90 days. An appeals court ruling last week upheld a temporary stay of Trump’s order.

In the brief, the universities list their global missions and argue that the order impedes their abilities to fulfill them.

“While the Executive Order is currently limited to seven countries, its damaging effects have already been widely felt by American universities,” the brief reads.

Specifically, the universities point to students and scholars who were stranded outside of the country, negative effects on the institutions’ ability to attract foreign scholars in the future, and “institutional anxiety” plaguing their international affiliates as a result of the order.

“These costs are significant and directly affect amici’s ability to pursue their missions,” they wrote. “And they are being experienced absent any evidence that amici’s lawfully-present students, faculty, and scholars—all of whom have already undergone significant vetting by the government—pose any threat to the safety or security of the United States or amici’s campuses.”

At least four Harvard affiliates have had difficulty entering the United States as a result of Trump’s order, and more than 100 total Harvard scholars and students come from the seven listed countries.

Harvard joins Brown, Carnegie Mellon, University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Yale.

The amicus brief is the latest in a series of actions Harvard has taken to oppose Trump’s order. Harvard’s General Counsel filed the first amicus brief in a Boston suit on Feb. 4. University President Drew G. Faust joined 48 other university presidents in signing a letter to Trump opposing the immigration ban, and Harvard’s Immigration and Refugee Law Clinic has provided legal counsel to impacted affiliates and filed an amicus brief in the Washington State suit that reached the appellate court last week.

"We've been asked to do other amicus briefs, and there are amicus briefs that seem to be based largely on the one we created or helped to create for the Boston case, so there’s just a lot of activity around that and those are issues that I've been working on with people in Washington, too,” Faust said in an interview Friday.

—Staff writer Claire E. Parker can be reached at claire.parker@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ClaireParkerDC.

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